A Virginian of the Virginians

Typical of those men — most typical — was Lee. He represented, individualized, all that was highest and best in the southern mind and the Confederate cause — the loyalty to state, the keen sense of honor and personal obligation, the slightly archaic, the almost patriarchal, love of dependent, family, and home. As I have more than once said, he was a Virginian of the Virginians. He represents a type which is gone — hardly less extinct than that of the great English nobleman of the feudal times, or the ideal head of the Scotch clan of a later period; but, just so long as men admire courage, devotion, patriotism, the high sense of duty and personal honor — all, in a word, which go to make up what we know as character  —just so long will that type of man be held in affectionate, reverential memory. They have in them all the elements of the heroic. As Carlyle wrote more than half a century ago, so now: “Whom do you wish to resemble? Him you set on a high column. Who is to have a statue? means, Whom shall we consecrate and set apart as one of our sacred men? Sacred; that all men may see him, be reminded of him, and, by new example added to old perpetual precept, be taught what is real worth in man. Show me the man you honor; I know by that symptom, better than by any other, what kind of man you yourself are. For you show me there what your ideal of manhood is; what kind of man you long inexpressibly to be, and would thank the gods, with your whole soul, for being if you could.”

Charles Francis Adams, “Shall Cromwell Have a Statue?” delivered before the Beta of Illinois Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society of the University of Chicago, 17 June 1902.

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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